IDW presents Victorie City #2. Written by filmmaker, and musician, Keith Carmack, and brought to life by The Bordello’s Vincent Nappi, Victorie City is a great noir story filled with: a Supernatural killer, a strange isolated city, a neurotic detective, and a missing woman. Aside from a couple hiccups, this is a well-rounded book. The writing was as engaging as it was mysterious, a must have for any crime story. The dialogue was distinct and modest, and aided with unique lettering by Jessi Adrignola. This was all wrapped up beautifully by Vincent’s art. His inks were somehow both ambiguous and sensible at the same time. And to match is elegant shading, he had a perfect color scheme for each of Keith’s scenes.
The start the story with Brahm Allvar staring at the walls of his jail cell, awaiting his conviction for the murder of a happy couple in the woods. During the trial the prosecutor stacks up every hatchet and blood soaked piece of clothing he could get his hands on. Not only does this aid in the conviction, it also supports the prosecution’s thesis: that this is not Mr. Allvar’s first murder.
While the jury decides the fate of the trial, Detective Hektor Ness is working hard on a missing persons case of one college student, Cyndi Brown. His interrogations pulled him all over the college campus, with each interview confirming that some traumatic event transformed Cyndi for the worse. He finally gets a lead to a women’s health clinic. When he arrives, though, he finds the doctor is just as stubborn as him, but not without reason. She reveals that she is the last line of the defense for women, like Cyndi, against both the city and the church.
Back in the courtroom the jury has come to unanimous decision, guilty. Before his fate was sealed, however, Mr. Allvar left the prosecutor with a brief, but terrifying, promise of revenge. The judge, known for being crazy and irregular, sentences Brahm to two throws of the electric chair. Bound, muzzled, and strapped to the chair, the first switch is thrown. After shocking convulsions, he sits dead and smouldering. Carrying out the judge’s sentence, the police throw the second switch. Brahm’s eyes spring open, and a sneer creeps across his face. The final panel shows the police staring in horror as this villain basks in the conclusion of his sentence.
Keith’s writing, and narrative, was perfect for this noir horror story. He cultivated this feeling of unease and mystery with each panel, and yet somehow delivered every piece of information on a need to know basis, so the reader was not confused. His organization for this issue was well structured, and the transitions between the two characters, Brahm and Hektor, we smooth and almost unnoticeable.
Another note on Keith‘s writing is with his dialogue. What I loved is that he kept the dialogue to a minimum, which made what each person said all that much more valuable to the story. There were no boring coffee shop/dive-bar scenes. Every character had a motive to what they were saying, and there was always some conflict. My only minor complaint was the time spent on the prosecution scenes. He could have gotten the point across that the murder was gruesome, and evidence to potential crimes, in a single page, but it was fun either way. The dialogue was also influenced through Jessi’s lettering. I really enjoyed that each character almost had their own font and bubble style. The only nag was the use of green bubbles on a green panel. Speech/narrative bubbles are supposed to pop out from the panel, and they cannot do that if they blend in.
Lastly, I want to give acclaim to the artist. Vincent’s style, though not entirely unique, definitely stands out among the heavily rendered digital pages in the industry. His inks are all over the place, and they have a chaotic feel to them. However, his panels are crystal clear. You can see every bit of detail and emotion through the blotches and hatch shading. It is one of my favorite styles of comic art. Furthermore, not only did his panels flow together, but he also used a great color palette to give each scene the appropriate feeling of despair and horror. Seriously, this guy did an outstanding job for this issue. And his Subscription Cover is also a great intro to this issue. I also would live to give notice to the Regular Cover Artist. If you pay attention to it, it really makes a difference in the courtroom scenes. The only difficult part of the art was the fight scene in the prison. It took me a couple of times to understand that Brahm threw acid in the other guys face, and that he didn’t just knock the shiv out of his hand.
Every book has their strengths and weaknesses, some more than others. This issue may have had some moments where the art was a little murky, and the writing was drawn-out, but overall it was a solid story. The art was fresh and visually stunning, the narrative was spooky and mysterious, and the dialogue was engaging and to the point, with evident help from the letterer. I highly recommend this book. I, myself, am going out to buy the first issue to catch up. Victorie City gets 4 out of 5.